Memories of a legend

First published in News

IN 1998, Nat Lofthouse was chuffed to bits when he had a train named after him.

The Lion of Vienna locomotive was so named following a competition in the Bolton Evening News.

Reader Pamela Parr came up with the name and still remembers meeting Nat.

Mrs Parr, aged 64, from Anderton, said: “The whole day was brilliant.

“We went to the train station and then afterwards, they had put on a double decker bus to go back to the Town Hall.

“We sat upstairs and I’ll always remember that Nat came and sat with us instead of staying with all the dignitaries downstairs.

“It meant a lot to us.”

At the time, Nat said he was proud to have an engine named after him.

The Lion of Vienna nameplate was put under the hammer at a special auction in London in 2009 after some of Virgin’s trains were renamed or withdrawn from service.

Les May from Gateshead emailed to say he remembered Wanderers playing Gateshead in the sixth round of the FA Cup in February 1953.

Mr May said: “Gateshead matched Bolton for over an hour before Bobby Langdon raced down the left wing and sent over a pin point centre for the unmarked Lofthouse to head past Bobby Gray and earn Bolton a place in the semi final.”

There were just under 18,000 at Redheugh Park, a record for the Third Division North team, who were that year’s giant killers, having beaten Liverpool in the third round.

Wanderers, of course, went on to the final only to lose 4-3 to Blackpool. The Whites went 3-1 up in the game before a Stanley Matthews inspired Blackpool went on to lift the trophy.

Nat also grabbed a goal, meaning he had scored in every round of the cup that season.

He was named footballer of the year in 1953, but his proudest moment would come five years later, when he returned to Wembley to win the FA Cup with the club he supported as a boy.

Marie Walsh, owner of Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe in Churchgate, remembers Nat’s mum visiting the shop when her son was an England international.

Mrs Walsh said: “Nat’s mother used to come into the shop and talk to my mother-in-law.

“She was very proud of Nat and would always say when he had been picked for England.

“He would get £20 and a cap, which is amazing when you think what the players get today.”

Nat’s finest moment in an England shirt came when he scored twice in a 3-2 victor over Austria in 1952.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree